March 19, 2007

Like many of you, I have been a member of ISSA, HTCIA and plenty of other organizations. As I have developed my career, I have found value in working with other professionals, and continue to find places to network, etc.

Of course, this is why a number of us came together to form the catalyst community

Anyway – I allowed my HTCIA membership to lapse. While I admire the group and their goals, when I moved to Albany, I was immediately disconnected, and as a result, didn’t want to keep spending the money for no return in value. I truly wish more organizations would start to understand that “meeting” does not mean everything has to happen in person. Many organizations would benefit either creating an online community – or at this point, getting engaged and helping to grow the catalyst community.

So this evening, I got this email message:

Dear HTCIA Member,

Our records indicate that your 2007 dues have not been paid. If payment is not received prior to April 15, 2007, you will be required to re-apply as a new member in HTCIA. Renewals can be done via our website at, or you may fax your credit card information or mail payment to the International Office address below. After this date, 2007 dues renewals will not be accepted.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and for your continued support of HTCIA.


So why did I bother to post this?

Perfect opportunity here was missed to demonstrate to me the value of renewing – instead, HTCIA decided to take a tactic of telling me that by not sending in dues, I would be forced to reapply. Personally, I would have asked why I didn’t pay the 2006 dues… and then remind me of some of the benefits and offered a telephone number to discuss what was going on, etc.

I read this message and instantly thought, “screw it.” I doubt that’s the reaction they wanted. But making me feel like an inconvenience to your organization doesn’t encourage me to want to stay. I still like and support the HTCIA – so this message isn’t about bashing them or suggesting that people not join. I think this is a great group and if you have a local chapter, you _should_ join. Yet this approach struck me as “the normal way of doing business” – and upset me. This message was focused on the HTCIA and not focused on me as a member – which is odd, since they are asking for money.

Is this how you treat your users? Are they inconveniences to you? Do you take the time to communicate in a way that meets their needs and demonstrates benefits to them (in their terms)?

Don’t make this mistake with your communications and opportunities to make a difference.

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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